SINGAPORE, 27 October 2021: Southeast Asia’s luxury river cruise operator, Pandaw, is the latest victim of the Covid-19 pandemic reporting Tuesday its decision to close following a failure to find funding to stay afloat.
In an official statement released yesterday, the company’s
founder and managing director Paul Strachan said: “This is a very sad moment
for me, my family, our crews and clients. It marks the end of an era for all of
us after 25 years of real adventure.
“We are truly sorry to disappoint our regular passengers who
were so looking forward to making a trip after the lifting of travel restrictions.
We are also heartbroken for our 300 plus crew members and shoreside personnel
who have stood by Pandaw and were hoping to get going again next year”.
He blamed the closure on the continuing Covid 19 impact on
international leisure travel, as well as the lockdown of destinations in
Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and India, and the critical political situation in
“The company has no alternative but to cease its river cruise operations due to the lack of financial liquidity and failure to find additional funding in the wake of the Covid 19 crisis.”
Strachan noted that forward bookings for a restart in 2022
remained strong, with great support from the ever-loyal Pandaw community, but
the company lacked the funding to continue layup operations of their 17 ships
for another year and then undergo essential refurbishment to prepare for
renewed operations, the timing of which is highly uncertain, even assuming this
may occur for winter 2022/23 season.
Efforts during the past year to find new investors or other forms of finance to carry the company through failed. Earlier the river cruise operator hoped to resume some sailings this November but continued lockdowns and uncertainty scuttled the schedule forcing the company to postpone the restart to the next season that would start around October 2022.
Founded in 1995, Pandaw pioneered river expeditions in
Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and India with its iconic boutique ships. Up
till the impact of Covid, Pandaw had enjoyed the support of a loyal following
of travellers, high occupancy and year on year growing revenues, with positive
Despite the closure of Pandaw Cruises, the Pandaw Charity,
which has supported people in Myanmar during the ongoing crisis, will continue
its work under the guidance of its trustees.